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Issue 82 - Perpetual Motion

Whisky Magazine Issue 82
September 2009


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Perpetual Motion

Gavin D Smith talks to the new broom at the Edrington Group.

There is something different about The Glenrothes 1998 Vintage, released in June for the Far East market. We are not talking about the liquid itself here, which always varies significantly from vintage to vintage, but about the label. Gone is master blender John Ramsay's facsimile signature after the printed legend ‘Approved by:' and in its place is the signature of one Gordon Motion.

Given that the press release relating to this bottling quotes Motion as declaring “It's said that pictures speak a thousand words and this is like Carmen Miranda's hat in a bottle,” it seems as though things might be changing dramatically at The Glenrothes.

During a highly distinguished 43-year career which drew to a close recently, John Ramsay was unquestionably one of the quiet and undemonstrative men of Scotch whisky blending, and it is almost impossible to imagine him likening one of his whiskies to headgear of any kind.

So is his successor as master blender for The Glenrothes' owners The Edrington Group going to be a mould-breaking new broom? Apparently not, is the answer, as Gordon Motion assures us that “I've not got anything radical in mind for the whiskies. I'll use more technology than John did for information gathering, as I have a computer sciences background, but otherwise, nothing much will change.

“For me, writing tasting notes is one of the hardest parts of the job, and you are likely to pick up on who has written them. Every blender develops a style and uses certai...

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